Theory in a Digital Age: A Project of English 483 Students, Coastal Carolina University

West and Music

        This idea of grouping was also brought up in Cornel West's  recent talk at Coastal Carolina University.

        West's talk at Coastal Carolina University was an inauguration for the Charles Joyner Institute of Gullah and African Diaspora Studies. After West's speech there was a brief question and answer session where this idea was brought up. The third and final questioner at the speech posed the idea that the young people now-a-days are not learning their ancestry and larger ideas. He stated that unlike the blues and older music - music that is not from this century- of people like "Nina Simone" and "Aretha" there is no meaning in the music to propel the young people. He stated that "rap today really is crap"

        West addresses this man's ideas stating that we cannot group people into such specific categories. We cannot group every rapper in the category of rappers who produce "crap" as this stereotypes these rappers when there are actually, according to West "politically conscious rap artists" in this century. West gives the example of Kendrick Lamar and as an outlier.

        West states that when we generalize and group people in such a way that the questioner grouped all rap artists together we "deny" the contributions of the outliers such as Lamar, who drew on one of the most controversial and one of the most talked about topics of 2016 - the idea that African-Americans, males specifically, are being targeted by police while other African-Americans are being treated cruelly because of their color (some of the key ideas behind the Black Lives Matter Movement). We cannot group people like this because there are so many outliers in each stereotype and grouping like this takes away from their contribution and is unfair to them.

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